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Marijuana proposition losing ground, poll shows

  1. EscapeDummy
    Californians are souring on a ballot measure to legalize adult recreational use and cultivation of marijuana, according to a new poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California

    The poll found that 44 percent of likely voters support Proposition 19, the marijuana ballot measure, while 49 percent are opposed. The results are a significant decline from last month, when the same survey found Prop. 19 leading 52 to 41 percent.

    Prop. 23, which would suspend the state's greenhouse gas law, lost support in the latest poll as did Prop. 24, which would overturn corporate tax breaks. Prop. 25, which would allow the Legislature to pass a budget with a simple majority vote, gained slightly, and is the only measure of those polled that is winning. Five other measures on the ballot were not polled.

    "In an initiative campaign, the burden of proof is always on the 'yes' side," said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. "The yes side has to do a very convincing job of explaining not just why, in concept, something is good, but why it is a good law."

    For Prop. 19, he noted the array of high-profile figures who have come out against the proposition, including every candidate running for statewide office, while the proponents have yet to gain such high-profile endorsements.

    The biggest drop in support is among independent voters. Last month, 65 percent of independent voters supported the initiative and that number has shrunk to just 40 percent. The poll also found a significant decline among Latino voters, whose support dropped from 63 percent in September to 42 percent today.

    "This was in concept something that Californians were evenly divided on and I guess they are just not hearing reinforcing messages that would put them in the position of support," Baldassare said.

    For Prop. 23, the measure to suspend the state's climate-change law known as AB32, 37 percent of likely voters are in support while 48 percent are opposed. Last month, voters were almost evenly split on the initiative, which would suspend the greenhouse gas regulation law until unemployment falls to 5.5 percent for an entire year.

    The voters polled knew the least about Prop. 24, a measure that would repeal three corporate tax breaks that have been included in budget negotiations the past few years. The measure is losing, with 31 percent in support and 38 percent opposed, but a large number of people - 31 percent - said they did not know how they would vote.

    "I think voters can't figure out what this one is all about," Baldassare said.

    The only ballot measure of the four polled that is leading is Prop. 25, which would allow the Legislature to pass the state budget by a simple majority. Current law requires a two-thirds majority vote, which forces it to be bipartisan, and earlier this month lawmakers finally approved a spending plan 100 days after the start of the fiscal year.

    Forty-nine percent of likely voters support the measure, while 34 percent are opposed. The findings are nearly identical to the survey taken a month ago.

    The survey polled 2,002 Californians who said they are registered and active voters. The poll was conducted between Oct. 10 and Oct. 17 and has an error rate of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

    Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
    Thursday, October 21, 2010


  1. veritas.socal
    great article. swim has changed his position after reading thru prop 19 ...again....and found that it does not affect medical patients...ie..it will not reduce the amt swim can have or grow.
    swim will try to find an article where people in well respected positions support 19.
    and is it any wonder that the latino populations want to vote no??? they will have no market for their schwag buds....everyone will flock to ca(which will then start a NEW border patrol....
    just swims two cents
  2. Pieces Mended
    SWIM knows someone who has their medical card in CA and is also very politically savvy. The issue is the demographic of likely voters has changed greatly and continuously in the same direction over the past couple of months.

    According to SWIM's source, there is a huge number of prior Democrats now registered independent. That group of voters, who actually are politically active enough to have taken the time to disaffiliate with the party they were displeased with, are looking to comprise a larger and larger percentage of the overall electorate.

    While one would imagine a surge in independents who were previously Democrats would be a huge positive for Prop 19. The problem is that these defectors were generally the more centrist members of the party, meaning they by large numbers support medical use, but aren't left enough to support full-out legalization.

    It is this phenomenon that accounts for the improvement in poll numbers for Democrats running for state office in California, but decline in the Prop 19 support. Even the now "independent" Dems are still leaning somewhere around 55/45 toward Democratic candidates. So, while it may seem that turnout and polls for the liberal candidates and agenda are improving, that isn't going to have the same positive effect on Prop 19's polling trend.

    While SWIM declared in a thread a few weeks or a month back that Prop 19 was going to pass, he realizes now that he'd totally misjudged the electorate. The democrats voting this year are NOT the same people who voted for Obama. In other words, they aren't going to follow the party-line across the board. Considering most polls show the true leftest liberal voters have already decided if and how they will vote, the "get out the vote" movement by the Dems has switched focus to the moderate Dems and left-leaning Independents. Regardless of how the rest of the election results turn out, SWIM believes the support for Prop 19 has hit its ceiling for potential votes cast.

    Ironically, the only real hope it has of passing would be for the Dems to fail in energizing their centrist supporters. If this happens, reducing the number of supporters for their candidates and essentially causing a route by Republicans, it would also reduce the "no" votes for Prop 19.
  3. talltom
    I think that's a good analysis TinfoilxTouch. Polls are showing Brown gaining on Whitman, even while they believe Whitman would do more for the economy than Brown. Boxer is holding onto a slim lead over Fiorino. So it looks like those two incumbent Democrats will win; very different from what seems to be happening in other states. As you say, these voters are probably not supporters of Proposition 19.

    I continue to support Proposition 19 but now I'm beginning to feel that it won't make that big a difference if it looses. Since we already have medical marijuana and the recent reduction of possession penalties to a simple "infraction", in effect we are already close to legalized pot. (I'm aware that the reason for reducing the penalty was probably to reduce the chances of Proposition 19 passing.) Now we also have the Federal government threatening to come down hard on distributors if Proposition 19 passes. Again, their threat is designed to get voters to turn against 19. Nonetheless, I predict passage will result in a big Federal-state fight. Finally, we have growers in places like Humbolt County worrying about prices if 19 passes.

    Recently I posted an article in another thread that pointed out sentiment for full marijuana legalization has been gradually growing over the past 20 years. Philosophically, I'll be happy if Proposition 19 passes. But practically, I will not be all that disappointed if it does not pass. I'm sure another effort will be made in 2012 and maybe by then we won't have the negative reactions we would have now. Meanwhile, we'll survive with medical marijuana and near-full decriminalization.
  4. talltom
    As of October 22, 2010 LA Times/USC Poll Sees Proposition 19 Support Falling Even More

    California's Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana use for adults, is trailing 51 percent to 39 percent, a poll released Friday shows. But some say polling on this issue may be problematic.

    By Daniel B. Wood, Staff writer / October 22, 2010

    Los Angeles

    If this is Friday, California's ballot measure to legalize marijuana use for adults must be ... losing?

    That, indeed, is the result of the latest poll on Proposition 19. A Los Angeles Times/USC poll released early Friday shows likely voters oppose the ballot initiative by 51 percent to 39 percent, with 8 percent undecided or declining to state their intent.

    However, there are a lot of "howevers." Foremost is that poll results on this particular initiative have seesawed wildly – reflecting either fast-changing views of Californians about legalizing marijuana or, perhaps as likely, the difficulty of getting accurate survey results on this issue.

    Four polls conducted in September, for instance, had Prop. 19 winning. This month, four polls have it losing and one poll has it winning. In all of those polls but one, the "undecideds" were at least 7 percent – and in most cases that undecided number was bigger than the win-loss point margin in the poll.

    That, coupled with suspicion that pro-legalization respondents may not be telling pollsters their true feelings about the measure, makes it hard to tell what's really going on with California voters.

    "There are very good reasons to think the polls could either be overestimating or underestimating Proposition 19’s support,” writes Nate Silver, a blogger for the election forecasting site "Five Thirty Eight." “In spite of the recent trends against Proposition 19, therefore, I would be inclined to take the recent polling at face value, which suggests that the measure has about even odds of passing.”

    The Los Angeles Times/USC poll, conducted by the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm American Viewpoint, surveyed 441 likely voters by phone, both cellphone and land lines, from Oct. 13 to 20. It had a 4.6 percent margin of error.

    Here are some explanations both sides offer for the apparent shift in voter sentiment against Prop. 19:

    • Two days into the polling period, US Attorney General Eric Holder came to California to announce that the Obama administration would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against people who sell, distribute, or grow marijuana for recreational use – thereby making clear that pot users would still face criminal sanctions no matter what happens with Prop. 19.

    • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed legislation making possession of an ounce of marijuana an “infraction” (as opposed to misdemeanor), and voters may feel that a punishment that is the practical equivalent of a traffic ticket is appropriate – and all that needs to be done.

    • Races for governor and Senate in California may be affecting voters' views on Prop. 19. Four major-party candidates – Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman, Barbara Boxer, and Carly Fiorina – are all opposed. These prominent races may drive turnout up, bringing out older voters who would be more likely to offset younger voters' enthusiasm for Prop. 19.

    The No on 19 camp says now that voters have had time to scrutinize the initiative, more are rejecting it – the latest polls are simply reflecting that.

    “As expected, California voters are taking a closer look at Prop. 19 and are just saying no,” said Roger Salazar, spokesman for No on Prop. 19.

    He cites a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll conducted Oct. 10-17 that showed 49 percent of likely voters were against it versus 44 percent in favor – an eight-point drop in support from the PPIC's poll in September. “The PPIC survey shows Prop. 19 has not been able to spark up support among voters, especially Latinos or independents,” says Mr. Salazar.

    “While the measure claims to regulate, control, and tax marijuana, voters don't need eye drops to clearly see it does none of those things,” he adds. “The chronic flaws in Prop. 19 endanger public safety, make a mockery of workplace safety rules, and won’t generate the revenue claimed by proponents.”

    Still, Prop. 19 is uncharted territory. No state has ever held a vote to approve or reject legalizing marijuana, so it can be difficult for pollsters to pin down who is a "likely voter" in this election, notes Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization that works to increase public support for nonpunitive marijuana policies.

    “This is an issue that can motivate the young, irregular voter like no other,” says Mr. Fox. His organization is seeing “incredible enthusiasm on [college] campuses” nationwide, with many volunteering time to make calls to voters in California on the proposition's behalf, he says. The vote is considered crucial to the future of the pro-marijuana movement nationwide. If passed, Prop. 19 would allow adults at least 21 years old to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow 25-square-foot pot gardens for personal use, and it would authorize county and city governments to regulate and tax commercial cultivation and sales.

    Moreover, Fox says, certain polls may not be reflecting some voters' true intent to vote for Prop. 19. One thesis is that polls that use live operators to ask the questions register less approval for Prop. 19, because respondents are reluctant to be honest in front of an actual person. Those that use automated calls may not encounter that same resistance, the thinking goes. One poll this month, USA Survey, uses robocalls and had the yes vote favored 48 to 44 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

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    The poll results seem to change every day. We'll just have to wait until November 2 to see what happens.
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